Quinoa: A must for vegetarians
There are a lot of good things about being vegetarian. In many ways it is good for health. However, the one health problem vegetarians often have is lack of protein in their diet.
Why is Protein important in diet?
Protein is important because it is required in every cell in your body. It is used to build and repair tissues, create enzymes, hormones and even your hair. It is also important for the health of your bones and muscles, and of course for building muscle mass.
The addition of any protein in a meal also reduces the glycemic index and boosts metabolism and weight loss. Eating adequate amount of protein in your diet means reduces chances of diabetes and improves fitness levels.
All Proteins are not the same!
Protein can be made up of Amino Acids. A protein that has all, all 9 essential amino acids is called a complete Protein. Most animal-based sources of protein are complete protein sources, however very few of the plant-based protein sources are complete protein sources. This includes pulses or daals, which are the main source of protein in vegetarian families in India and Nepal.
The three most complete protein sources for vegetarians are: Diary Products like Milk, Paneer and Curd, Soya, and of course Quinoa! While there are controversies about dangers of having diary products and soya, Quinoa is one food item that is considered a super food- because it is so good for you!
How to complete your Protein requirement
Basically, sedentary women should be consuming about 45 grams of protein per day, while sedentary men should be consuming 56 grams. For vegetarians, we recommend you split your protein into three sources:
a) Pulses and Daals: Daals or Pulses or a good protein source, although they are not a complete protein source. To counter that, you can have a different daal everyday, so the amino acid missing in one daal can be made up by another.
(Even Coconut is an excellent protein source, although incomplete. A great way of adding more coconut to your diet is to use coconut flour for cooking and baking)
b) Complete Protein Sources: A third to half of your protein sources should come from Quinoa, Paneer and Soya. For best results, alternate between Quinoa and Paneer while having Soya about once a week.
c) Nuts: The remainder of your protein requirement can come from nuts like Almonds, Peanuts etc.
The best way to consume Quinoa
For all its health benefits, Quinoa isn't considered very tasty when eaten as a grain. However, when used as a baking flour, it lends a delicious nutty flavour. If you make cakes, cookies or other desserts, then using Quinoa Flour is a great way to indulge your sweet tooth in a healthy way!
If you would like to buy Quinoa Flour, click here.